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Land-use change threatens Marikina River Basin, experts say

Published on 17 March 2014 Philippines

THE rapid change in land use in the territories of five local government units (LGUs) in Rizal province from 2004 to 2012 led to the loss of forest cover and increased the built-up areas in the Marikina River Basin.

This finding was reported earlier this month to the Climate Change Commission (CCC), which commissioned the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) and the Ergons Project Marketing Consultants to do the bio-physical impact and vulnerability assessments (VA) on the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL).

Marikina City, which lies downstream of the UMRBPL, was one of the most severely hit LGUs by Typhoon Ondoy, which battered the city on September 26, 2009, killing scores of people and destroying property worth several hundred millions of pesos.

The study was a component of the Asian Development Bank funded technical assistance, titled “Climate Resilience and Green Growth in the UMRBPL: Demonstrating the Eco-town Framework.”

Among the LGUs covered by UMRBPL are Antipolo City, Baras, Rodriguez, San Mateo and Tanay.

Tanay hosts the 700-hectare Freedom Village Resettlement area owned by the National Housing Authority that the Department of the Interior and Local Government wants to develop into another city populated by thousands of urban-poor families.

The city of Manila also owns a huge property in the town that can be transformed into another resettlement area, thus increasing the built-up areas in the town, which was also supposed to host the aborted Kaliwa-Kanan Dam.

Dr. Esteban Godillano, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist, presented the bio-physical impact assessment using available data from various national government agencies, LGUs and the acquired satellite imagery integrated into GIS maps.

The assessment shows a fast land-use change from 2004 to 2012, indicating threats of deforestation and built-up areas.

UMRBPL drains water to Lower Marikina down to Manila Bay.

Dr. Nicomedes Briones, Natural Resources Management specialist, presented the VA of forest, agriculture and water sectors in UMRBPL.

Dr. Ma. Victoria Espaldon, Gender Mainstreaming and Capacity Building specialist, presented the VA for the health sector.

The VA computed the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of the five LGUs in climate-change adaptation and disaster-risk reduction.

Each LGU has different levels of vulnerability in terms of drought, landslide, flooding and soil erosion, or combinations of these.

The CCC was represented by Assistant Secretary Joycelyn A. Goco and Program Manager Alex Lapiz.

Other members of the project team, who were also present included Dr. Elmer Mercado, team leader and climate-change adaptation and disaster risk reduction specialist; Dr. Florencia Pulhin, climate-change mitigation specialist; and multimedia specialist Jose Rey Alo.

Searca was represented by Dr. Lope B. Santos III, program specialist and officer in charge of the Project Development and Management Department.

EPMC was represented by Dr. Emman Lleva, Teresita Pascual and Marvin Pascual.

Source: Business Mirror | 26 February 2014